June 04 2021
What is glucosamine?
Glucosamine is a naturally occurring compound. It is a molecule present in our body. Also, the amino sugar is a popular dietary supplement. Mostly, glucosamine is used to treat the symptoms of joint pain and other bone disorders. It also targets many inflammatory diseases.
In this article, we will talk about the benefits and other aspects of Glucosamine.
Glucosamine acts as a functional block for the functionality of various molecules in our body. It is primarily recognized for development and maintenance of cartilage. It is not only found in humans but also found in non-human tissues like shellfish shells, animal bones and fungi. The supplemental glucosamine is often made from these sources.
Osteoarthritis is a common bone disorder. Glucosamine is often used for both treatment and prevention of such joint and bone diseases. Glucosamine is available in the form of a cream or salve. Besides, it can also be used orally.
Summarizing it we can say that glucosamine is not only found in human tissues but can also be found in non-human tissues as well. It is recognized for its function information of cartilage and is often used as a dietary supplement to treat bone disorders like osteoarthritis.
Glucosamine may reduce inflammation
Glucosamine is often used to treat various inflammatory conditions. Though its mechanism of action is not clearly understood, it seems to readily reduce inflammation.
In many research, glucosamine is often supplemented with chondroitin. Chondroitin is quite similar to glucosamine in that it is also involved in the maintenance and production of healthy cartilage.
A study involving 200 people showed that glucosamine supplements can help to reduce the markers of inflammation namely: CRP and PGE. Also, a similar study was done to know the effects of chondroitin. And the significant results were obtained when the inflammatory markers reduced by 36%.
Usually, the participants take chondroitin simultaneously with glucosamine and hence it remains unclear if the results were driven by chondroitin alone or by both chondroitin and glucosamine.
Nevertheless, more research is needed to know the role of glucosamine in the reduction of inflammatory markers on the body.
Summarizing it we can say that though the mechanism by which glucosamine works in the treatment of a disease is not well understood, certain studies have shown that it may help in the reduction of inflammation, especially when taken simultaneously with chondroitin.
Glucosamine supports healthy joints
The naturally occurring glucosamine in our body plays a significant role in the healthy development of tissues between our joints.
We know that bones meet to form a joint and at the end of the bones there is smooth white tissue called articular cartilage. Articular cartilage along with synovial fluid allows the bone to move freely. Synovial fluid is a lubricating fluid that minimizes friction allowing painless movement at the joint.
What glucosamine does is that it helps in the formation of various compounds that are involved in the creation of articular cartilage and synovial fluid.
Studies show that glucosamine protects joint tissue while preventing the breakdown of cartilage. A small study found that intake of glucosamine can help to reduce collagen degradation in knees by 27%. Another study suggests that glucosamine reduces the ratio of collagen breakdown to collagen synthesis markers on articular joints of soccer players.
These results suggest the importance of glucosamine in the protection of our joints. Glucosamine is responsible for developing tissues that are necessary for proper joint function. Some studies indicate that supplemental glucosamine protects joints from damage Nevertheless, more research is needed.
Glucosamine is often used to treat bone and joint disorders
Glucosamine is specifically studied for its potential to treat symptoms of bone disorders including osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Studies say that glucosamine supplements can offer long term treatment for osteoarthritis. It not only reduces the pain but also slows down disease progression.
Some studies have shown that mice, when treated with various forms of glucosamine had reduced markers of rheumatoid arthritis(RA). Talking about the human study, major changes were not seen in RA progression. However, participants experienced an improvement in their symptoms.
Early research on mice showed that supplemental use of glucosamine can help improve bone strength in osteoporosis. Surely these results seem to be encouraging but more human studies are required to understand the mechanism and best applications of glucosamine.
Other health benefits of glucosamine
Interstitial cystitis is a condition wherein the efficiency of glycosaminoglycan is seen. And for its treatment, glucosamine is widely promoted. Glucosamine is the precursor of glycosaminoglycan and hence it is believed that glucosamine supplement may be helpful in these patients.
Inflammatory Bowel disease
Just like the above-discussed condition, inflammatory bowel disease is also linked to glycosaminoglycan deficiency. However, little research is done to know the effects of glucosamine supplement in the treatment of IBD. A study done in mice indicated that glucosamine can help to reduce inflammation.
Some researchers believe that glucosamine can be an effective treatment for multiple sclerosis.
Glucosamine can help in the treatment of glaucoma as well. Glucosamine sulfate possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. And hence it is said to promote eye health. On the other hand, one study suggested that overuse of glucosamine supplement may harm people with glaucoma. Hence we can say that current data is inconclusive.
Does glucosamine supplement work?
Well, as discussed, there are several health benefits offered by glucosamine supplement. Its positive effects are seen in many diseases. However available research supports its use only in a narrow range of conditions. There is strong evidence for the usage of glucosamine sulfate for the long term treatment of osteoarthritis. That being said, the effects of it may vary from person to person.
If you are considering beginning with a glucosamine supplement, make sure that you choose a quality product for the supplement for better effects.
Dosage and forms
The usual dosage of glucosamine is 1500 mg per day. Glucosamine supplements made from natural sources like shellfish shell or fungi. Often, the supplement is available in two forms glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride.
Glucosamine sulfate with or without chondroitin is considered to be more effective.
Risks and side effects
For most people glucosamine supplement is considered to be safe. Possible side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, heartburn and abdominal pain. Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers should avoid taking glucosamine. Further, if you have a history of diabetes or are taking diabetes medicine then do talk to your doctor before taking glucosamine.